Storm

A poem by Susan O'Connell.
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Credit: Library of Congress

Credit: Library of Congress

My name's Billy Joe and when I was 18 
I was gonna be a rodeo star.
That year I finished 11th all-around
there was no doubt I was gonna go far.

I was new on the circuit but I could handle myself
even though the other men said I was green.
They thought they were smart cause they'd all been around
but I knew I'd be the best they'd ever seen.

One night two old-timers were having a jaw
and I just couldn't help overhear.
They seemed to be recollecting a curious tale
that happened earlier in their career.

Well the closer I got the louder they talked
so I sat down to listen awhile.
They didn't seem to mind my intrusion at all
they just went on with a wink and a smile.

One fellow said "I'm good, but I won't try it again,
these old bones couldn't stand that abuse.
Just one ride on old Storm was enough for this boy
That is one tooth rattling, wild cayuse!"

The other said, "Yep, I know what you mean.
It was Storm who nearly tore off my ear.
It took 48 stitches to put it back on
and I was off the circuit for almost a year.

And remember old Sam, I was sure he'd hold on.
When I see him I can't help but wince.
He took a bad fall and landed smack on his head
and he just ain't been right ever since.

Any fool who'd try to conquer that beast
would have to be tough, I expect,
but if he could hold on for eight seconds or more
he would certainly earn my respect."

They both chuckled a bit and turned over to sleep
but I was filled with the swagger of youth.
There wasn't a bronc or bull I couldn't ride
and that was the God's honest truth.

So I asked the old-timers where I could find Storm
I admit they appeared quite impressed.
They sure wouldn't call me a green kid anymore
when I proved to them I was the best.

So the next day they took me to a ranch out of town
and said I had to get permission inside.
They said, "Tell them you're here for a wrangle with Storm
that you're ready for a real wild ride."

Well I was mighty confused when a woman let me in
and told me to go up the stairs,
The old-timers just smiled as I followed her up
as they yelled, "I sure hope you remembered your prayers."

Now I figured Storm's owner must live on this ranch;
Don't forget, I was 18 after all.
But it soon became clear what kind of house I was in
from the sounds I could hear in the hall.

Suddenly a door was flung open by the biggest gal I ever saw
as the truth was beginning to form...
I tried to run but she grabbed me in a bone-crushing embrace
and said, "Welcome sonny, I'm Emaline Storm!"